Eclectic & Meaningful: Giovanni Piacentini on Contemporary Classical Guitar
Spotlighting Artists & Scientists Sharing Why Music Matters in a Q&A Format every Thursday
Giovanni Piacentini performs his original contemporary classical guitar composition, "Chiaroscuro," on June 24, 2020 at 12:15pm PST on our YouTube Channel.
Giovanni, we are fascinated by your eclectic background and how it influences your music today. We've love to learn more!
What is your background in music?
It's very eclectic. I grew up in a household where there was constantly rock and roll playing, Brazilian music, and my father was a big opera lover. Obviously when I started getting into guitar, I started listening to guitar repertoire, rock and roll, the blues, Elvis Presley, as well as orchestral music. Mexican folk music...As eclectic as it gets.
Why did you choose to study composition at UCLA?
I chose UCLA because, Dr. Danielpour, who I’ve been studying with for the past decade, moved here and I saw an opportunity to further my knowledge and my studies. And to also, change atmospheres. New York City was getting a little cramped in every way. I heard LA had a very vibrant, hopeful, and less jaded music scene. I’m very happy I’m here in Los Angeles, at UCLA.
Who are you influenced by?
I’m influenced by so many composers, it’s hard to name them all. I’m also influenced by a lot of different things. Not only the fine arts, painting, and poetry. I love reading. I’m influenced by every day activities. Surprises influence me a lot. They spark something.
Where have you performed? Where has your music been featured?
I’ve performed in many many different venues. All the way to rock festivals, to concert halls. I recently did a short tour of China. Playing in beautiful theaters. Solo classical guitar. Also I've performed in dirty blues venues.
I’ve performed as a choir member in Manhattan School of Music at the Kennedy Center and the prestigious Lincoln Center with NY Philharmonic.
I've also played at half empty dive bars at the middle of nowhere. So really, pretty much everywhere.
My music has been featured in many places. I’ve been very lucky. And I’ve been working very hard. It's been featured in concerts pretty much all over the world. It was 2 years ago, I had the privilege of having a premiere at Carnegie Hall with my piano trio, Ondine. I was very happy about that. Uh yep, very lucky.
What is something different you bring to your performance?
I don’t know if I bring anything different to my performance, I guess that it’s me playing and it’s my music for the most part. My background makes my performance unique. But I try not to think of that. I try not to think of being different or unique. I think that comes out on it’s own.
What is one memorable collaboration you were a part of?
I’ve been part of many many memorable collaborations. I’ve been super lucky. One that comes to mind is with a wonderful composer and a dear friend of mine Paolo Marchettini he is from Rome and he lives in New York City. We went to school together there at the Manhattan School of Music, where he now teaches. We did a recording, he's a wonderful clarinetist, and we did a recording of guitar and clarinet. But I've had many many memorable collaborations, that’s one of the best parts of being a musician.
What attracted you to be featured for Mindful Music?
I think “Mindful” and “Music” are in some ways, synonyms. They have a lot in common. Music is definitely a very powerful sign post and tool. Guide us to be more mindful and present and aware. Especially when doing a live performance. So that’s what attracted me to Mindful Music.
What do you hope to say through your music?
I hope to, delivery a message of hope. I hope to inspire people. Make them, come out of their comfort zones a little. Move, emote something inside of them. That Makes them move. Take action Think. Make them a little uncomfortable. I truly believe it’s on the other side of comfort we find our magic. I hope my music takes people there.
What is your goal as an artist?
Is very simple and clear. I want to make the best music I that I possibly can. I want to give it my all. I will be very happy with whatever results that entails. Obviously I would hope to reach as many people as I can. And try to contribute something of value to their lives. As long as I can work towards that and try to make that happen. I’ll be very happy.
Learn more & listen to Giovanni's music:
Interview conducted & written by Dalida Arakelian